I would like to introduce you to two famous Chilean poets who both won the Nobel Prize for Literature: Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda. Let’s discover more about their lives and look at resources to teach kids about these wonderful poets!
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Gabriela Mistral was born as Lucila Godoy Alcayaga in Vicuña, Chile in 1889. As a young girl, she taught herself to read, wrote poems, sang songs, told stories, and played school (all activities that my kids love to do!) . She became a real teacher when she was only 15, and continued writing. Traveling around the world, she kept writing poems and stories. Gabriela always had a deep love and commitment towards the poor, especially children. She accepted an offer from the President of Mexico to help work on their new public school system in the 1920s.
Because people loved her stories she was given the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945– she was the first Latin American do win the award! Children can be introduced to Gabriela Mistral with this lovely children’s book:
My Name is Gabriela by Monica Brown (bilingual Spanish-English).
“I loved words- I liked the sounds they made rolling off my tongue and I liked the way they could express how I felt.
“When I saw a butterfly fluttering, I noticed the way the words fluttering butterfly sounded together- like a poem.”
The second of our incredible Chilean poets is Pablo Neruda. Born as Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto in 1904 in Parral, Chile, Pablo loved to play in the forest, swim in the river, ride horseback, and search for beetles, birds eggs, and ferns. As a child he surrounded himself with words, and loved to discover stories. His teacher was Gabriela Mistral! and she inspired him to become a writer. He wrote poems about everything he saw and loved, and published poems as a teen. Pablo liked to write poems about opposites, about children, about the ocean: everything he saw. People called him “The Poet of the People” because he was interested in sharing the struggles of people and trying to make their lives better. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Children can be introduced to this phonemenal Chilean poet with the book Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People, also by Monica Brown.
One of the types of poems that Pablo Neruda wrote was “Odes.” His odes praised and elevated every day objects into extraordinary things.
Here is a great lesson plan, asking students to create their own odes. Here’s another lesson plan all about “odes to common things.” We used to do this in Spanish 3 (high school level) and the kids would come up with the most amazing “odas”!!!
These books and lesson plans on these two famous Chilean poets are kid-friendly and accessible for all ages!